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Stuber

Buddy comedies heavily rely on chemistry. Whether it’s two or more in the cast, how they interact is crucial in making the comedic situations work. If they don’t the film can quickly fall apart no matter how good a story. ‘Stuber’s script may not be original or totally engaging, but the leads’ chemistry ensures it remains watchable until the last reel.

Uber driver Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) is having a boring day driving around ungrateful clients. When LAPD detective Victor (Dave Bautista) suddenly commandeers Stu’s car, all hell breaks loose. Determined to catch a notorious drug baron, Victor also has to deal with dodgy eye-sight as well as an irate Uber driver. Stu’s day goes from bad to worse with guns and explosions following him and Victor in a day he’d rather forget.

‘Stuber’ doesn’t always work with profane humor wrecking a few of its set-ups. Generally it’s entertaining though with Nanjiani and Bautista displaying that all important chemistry in spades. It’s easy going along with their partnership as both actors inject plenty of pathos and charisma into their characters. ‘Stuber’ isn’t perfect but its slightly low-brow aims are softened by Michael Dowse’s astute direction.

The action set pieces give ‘Stuber’ much heft. These plus the stunts are the other stars of the film and don’t disappoint. The screenplay is wafer-thin with a ‘seen it all before’ mentality occasionally surfacing. But the leads’ ability to play to their strengths go a long way in not making ‘Stuber’ an unwatchable mess.

‘Stuber’ can’t be taken too seriously with the comedy and action mixed reasonably well. It won’t change the world anytime soon but it isn’t a piece of celluloid junk either. Sort of like cinematic fast-food where you feel slightly guilty in watching it but having fun anyway.

Rating out of : 6

Spider-man: Far from Home

‘Spider-man: Far from Home’ is the 7th stand-alone film in the overall series. These do not include the stitched together efforts from the late 70’s/early 80’s that were episodes of the infamous Nicholas Hammond-starring TV series. Those of a particular age would remember them with fondness with its goofy charm surprisingly still evident in this bigger budgeted update. Being a huge Spider-man comic book collector since the 70’s, the character has always been of interest with this entry successfully capturing the essence of what made those books captivating page-turners.

Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is on a school trip to Europe with his school friends MJ (Zendaya) and Ned (Jacob Batalon). His holiday is rudely interrupted when former head of S.H.I.E.L.D Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) enlists his services. Wanting Parker, in his guise as Spider-man, to team up with noted illusionist Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), Fury wants them to battle an otherworldly threat. With Peter’s personal and professional life blurring, he will need all his super-heroics to spin his way out of trouble.

‘Spider-man: Far from Home’ is a consistently entertaining entry in the franchise. Light, exciting and fun, it encompasses the lighter side of the web-spinning. With previous instalments exploring the darker side of the mythology, this recent reboot series has taken a much lighter tone. It doesn’t mean discarding the teenage angst that makes the Spider-story compelling. Peter’s personal problems still captivate and are relatable no matter what age viewers are. How he deals with his friends and foes alike is what sets him apart from the more muscle-bound heroes he encounters.

Like Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield before him, Holland makes the character his own. Each actor has conveyed a different aspect of the role with Holland’s keen sense of responsibility and naivety a key component of the comic book’s early days. Jackson and Gyllenhaal are equally strong as well as the other cast members. It’s refreshing seeing the story take Spider-man out of the comfort zone of his usual New York locale with the European locations put to great use. The CGI and cinematography bring each frame to comic-book life with lots of colour and movement under Jon Watts’ strong direction.

Whilst the first two Maguire films are still the best rendition of the character, ‘Spider-man: Far from Home’ is a fine addition. Briskly paced with scenes easily flowing into the other, it’s a solid crowd pleaser. A third outing of Holland’s Spidey would be welcome with the character’s popularity as strong as the webs he weaves.

Rating out of 10: 7